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Common Graduate School Admissions Essay Questions

essay writing Common Graduate School Admissions Essay QuestionsAdmission to a graduate school almost always requires some sort of written statement as a part of the application. The importance of the statement varies from school to school and from field to field, but overall there is an assessment occurring of the applicant's academic worthiness via his or her communication skills.

Although the essay could be one general question, such as "what is your approach to life," most universities world-wide now break the question into six or more sections, each answer requiring somewhere between 400-600 words, the equivalent of roughly two typed pages.


Some graduate school essay questions either totally or partially focus on specific information. The information here tends to be goal-oriented, no small part of the rubric used to evaluate the candidate. These questions tend to be worded in a way that ask "what" questions, usually concerning your academic interests, research experiences and academic objectives.

Despite the focus on specific information, all of these questions need to be answered with your focus on goals. The trick is to not merely list your goals by answering the "what," but to provide explanations as well. The idea is to try to show how the goal developed within you or how your experiences have shaped your goal. This approach to these types of essay questions works because it provides you room to elucidate your point of view as a way of answering.

If the question focuses you on specifics within your background, such as asking you to discuss your research experiences or academic background, it's okay to answer the question with some part of your high school experiences, but it's better to focus on college or on time away from academia.

Best of all, try to answer the question in a way that says how you see the particular university helping you to achieve your specific goals.

Another way of phrasing the specific question is to ask you to describe your experience of something particular, like working with a team (or contrarily working independently).

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posted by qualitypatrick in Getting Accepted,Graduate and have No Comments

5 Ways To Get Into The College Of Your Choice

acceptance letter1 300x225 5 Ways To Get Into The College Of Your ChoiceCollege is all about personal preference. You need to pick the school that’s right for you and nobody else but you. If you have a particular university that’s high on your list, there are certain measures you can take that will improve the likelihood of you getting accepted.

Here are five tips that’ll help you get into the college of your choice.

1. Have good grades and test scores

To make the first cut, you got to have the numbers. Most universities start sifting through applicants based on minimum GPA and test score requirements. These requirements can be found in publications that rank different programs, and you can also find these minimum figures on the admissions page of your prospective college’s website. If your GPA is less than stellar, then you need to compensate with high tests scores. If your standardized test scores are below the minimum requirements, then you’ll have to pick up the slack with excellent grades.

2. Write an award winning personal essay

The personal essay is the most customizable part of your application. It tells the admissions office who you are as a person, how well you can communicate and what you will bring to the table as a potential student. Tout your successes in your essay, and use the essay as a forum to explain any anomalies in your application. Whatever you choose to write on, make sure you have a tightly organized, well-argued composition that avoids clichés and sounds original.

3. Send in quality letters of recommendation

Don’t underestimate the impact of quality letters of recommendation. If you know a teacher who would gladly take a bullet for you, then have them voice their enthusiasm in a written letter. Follow carefully when including your letters of recommendation. Some colleges require letter writers to fall under specific categories (i.e. your letter must be written by someone who has taught you in the past year). Try to collect praise from multiple enthusiastic sources, so that you appear like a well rounded student. Letters of recommendation can also be written by employers, coaches or religious leaders.

4. Don’t slack off in high school

Your high school performance, both in and out of the classroom, are vital to your application’s success. You need to have plenty of extracurricular activities, but you also need to illustrate dedication, leadership, responsibility and achievement. It’s better to excel at a few things than try and overload your schedule with fleeting tasks. Be sure to explain why you chose a specific activity, and what benefits you derived from it.

5. Apply early, and if you don’t get in at first, appeal the decision or plan to transfer

Applying early can increase your chances of getting in. Don’t wait until a day before your deadline; send your application materials in as soon as possible. There are more spots and fewer applicants at the beginning of the admission process. As the deadline draws closer, there are more applicants and few spots to fill. If you don’t get in to the school of your choice, then consider appealing the decision. If that doesn’t work, you can always go to a junior college, complete your general education requirements and the transfer in two years.

If you plan ahead and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals, then there’s nothing to prevent you from getting into the college of your choice. Whether you succeed or fail is entirely up to you.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in 10/5 Top Tips!,Getting Accepted and have No Comments

How Should You Prepare For The S.A.T.s?

sat test How Should You Prepare For The S.A.T.s?

It's time for the SAT. You've been hearing about this test for years. You've been dreading the battle with the exam like the test is a three-headed dragon spewing fire and poisonous venom. You know how important the test is towards getting into a good school. You want to do your best to slay the dragon. 

Have confidence in your skills. You'll do just fine.

Just like with anything in life, if you're amply prepared, success will inevitably arrive.


An 11th grader shouldn't have to deal with such stress. It's not fair. But guess what? Life is filled with challenges and this is just one challenge among many you will face. The best way to prepare for the SAT is to take practice SAT tests.

A practice SAT exam will allow you to know in what range your score will likely land. This hypothetic score is the perfect place to start with the goal being to increase your score. You will be able to increase your SAT score by focusing on the areas that give you the most problems, whether math, verbal, or the essay section.

Practice SAT exams will also allow you to strategize how you are going to slay the dragon. There are certain test taking tips you want to be aware of when practicing for the SAT. For example, keep track of time when taking the practice test. Make sure you will be able to finish a section of the exam within the allocated time.

Answering the easy questions first is a good approach to the exam. It will allow you to save time. In other words, skip over the questions that bog you down. You can come back to them later, after you answer the ones you feel more confidant about.

Develop a strategy for guessing. On the SAT exam, the worse thing to do is leave a question blank. Even if you have to guess, do it, just don't leave a question blank. Develop tactics for guess work. Guess smart. Eliminate the multiple-choice answers you feel have no chance of being correct, then isolate what's left and take the best possible guess.

alg dragonage How Should You Prepare For The S.A.T.s?

The more practice tests you take, the better you will do.


Another great way to prepare for the SAT is to take a course with a tutor who is trained in helping students prepare for the SAT. Students who take a SAT prep course will usually score higher than if they didn't take the course.

Find out where a SAT prep course is being offered and register for it. If you need help finding a prep course or tutor, talk to your guidance councilor at school, or do an Internet search and see what you come up with.

Good luck preparing to slay the SAT dragon!

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Finishing H.S.,Getting Accepted,Strategies for Success,Studying/Test Taking and have Comment (1)

Create Your List Of Schools

making list 0808 lg 5041854 300x199 Create Your List Of Schools

Creating a list of potential schools should be done in the loosest, shallowest, and most capricious way possible. There are thousands of colleges and universities to choose, and they all offer their own specialties and points of interest, but you might never find them thinking practically. Ever want to live in the Pacific Northwest? Put it down as something to look for when searching. Ever thought about taking a glass blowing class? Jot it down. Because of the miracle that is the Internet, the most random and impulsive desires can be entered into college search engines that will spit back hundreds of schools to pick from around the country.

Any student's list of possible schools should include a handful of reach schools, schools that are very academically tough that they might have a shot of getting into. The list should also contain state schools as defaults, and in the middle should be a list of schools that are found by searching for random criteria. Why in this fashion? A good majority of students can get into state schools which are undervalued in terms of tuition, so they need to definitely be on the list. Many students receive fantastic educations and enjoy themselves at state schools, and leave college owing next to nothing when compared to the cost of a private university.

But most secretly want to attend a big time Ivy League school, or comparably ranked non-Ivy, and looking into those possibilities won't hurt. Harvard recently announced plans to forgo tuition costs for students whose families make less than fifty grand a year; an Ivy League education is possible. Also with these reach schools should be schools that are the best, or have the best reputation, in the student's desired field. Film majors should put USC, and Northwestern and NYU on their list. Journalists should have Ball State. Engineers should have MIT.

But that middle group of schools should be where the fun occurs, where students dream up the wildest scenarios and investigate the possibilities. New College in Sarasota doesn't have grades, and lets students design their own curriculum. Lewis and Clark College in an Oregon forest has classrooms and buildings that are only accessible by hiking trails. Ripon College offers a great liberal arts education and convenient access to the Great Lakes and nature. Some of these colleges might be too expensive, or impractical in terms of travel, but they should be on the list. They truly represent the possibilities of a college education.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Campus College,Finding Your School,Getting Accepted,Making the Decision and have No Comments

Discover How To Write A Great Admission Essay

Want to wow them with your college essay? Check out these writing tips…


When writing anything, even an e-mail, never hit the send button without re-reading what you've written. It's a good habit to get into. In writing, re-writing is everything. The first draft of anything you compose should only be 10% of the work, the following 90% of the writing process will come in revision.

Read and re-read the essay, and then read it again. Imagine the first draft of your essay like a rough matted dreadlock. Your eyes are a comb. Every time you read the essay, will be like a brush of the comb, working on the dreadlock. How many times will you have to brush a dreadlock before it's a fine piece of hair? Always step away from what you write for a couple of days. When first composing something, there is a tendency to be close to the copy, and a writer can't see its flaws. If a writer puts a draft away for a few days, and goes back to it, they will be able to see it from a different vantage point. Plan on re-writing the essay. There's no way around revision.


The quickest way to a point is with a straight line. Writing is very mathematical. The less you write, the more wallop your words can punch. This does not mean hand in a haiku for an essay, thinking you're making a statement in art; no, what it means is don't go off on tangents that are meaningless. Be direct and go right to the point. Don't try to be overly clever or cute. Odds are, if you think something is clever or cute, it's distracting from the directness of the essay and should be taken out in revision. Discipline yourself to be as direct as possible. Don't write sentences that are cluttered with unnecessary words. Use contractions. It's might be better than it is, don't gets there faster than do not. Less is more.


When composing a great piece of writing, try to write in scene. Granted, essay writing needs to be expository, or telling in some ways, but don't think there's no room for creativity in an essay. If a writer composes in scene, they will always draw a reader into the piece. Scenic writing is grounded in space and time. Scenic writing will always make more of an impression on a reader. Rather than simply telling a reader what happened, show them what happened.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Finding Your School,Getting Accepted and have No Comments

Apply for Admission to an Online Degree Program

After careful self examination, you have decided that you have what it takes to pursue an online degree program. You’ve made your checklists and have made a selection of good online programs that suits your lifestyle and goals. Now what? Request or download an application, and apply! Because the process can be complicated and time consuming, you should start well ahead of time. Here are some guidelines for applying for admissions to an online degree program:

1. Deadlines: Different programs have different deadlines. Unlike traditional colleges and universities, online degree programs’ deadlines may be flexible; however check out the schools website to verify when your application should be submitted to begin at your desired time frame.

2. Standardized Admissions Test Scores: Unless you have chosen to apply to a program that does not require an examination, you will have to take at least one of the following test and do well on it to be considered for acceptance.

a. SAT 1: a 3-hour paper exam that tests your verbal and math reasoning skills

b. SAT 11: a 1-hour subject area test that assesses your knowledge of a particular content area taught in high school

c. ACT: admissions exam consisting of four tests: English, reading, math and science reasoning

d. GRE: measures verbal, quantitative and analytical reasoning skills

e. GMAT: graduate exam for business school applicants

f. LSAT: graduate exam for law school applicants

g. MCAT: graduate exam for medical school applicants

3. Transcripts: You will need proof of your academic background; therefore you will need to request official transcripts from your high school, college or university you have attended.

4. Letters of Recommendations: You will need to provide letters of recommendations for each program you apply too. These letters give the members of the admissions committee a more personal view of you that your test scores or grades may lack. Consider who you will ask and how their writing skills and professional connections can reflect kindly on you.

5. Personal essay(s):  This is how you separate yourself from other applicants. Be yourself, be honest and tell the readers how your story intersects with theirs.

6. Application Form: This form can be downloaded or requested. On the application, you provide basic information about yourself ( i.e. name, birth date, educational background ). There should be a section for applying for financial aid. Be sure to understand what forms need to be submitted in order to receive financial aid from the school.

7. Submit: Try to submit all of your material at once and be sure to keep a copy of everything.

8. Follow up: After a couple of weeks, it is important to check up on the status of your application. For some schools, you can actually check the status of your application online and see if your application is missing any information.

9. Good Luck!

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Finding Your School,Getting Accepted,Online College and have No Comments
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